Why fibromyalgia destroys marriages?
In 3 months’ time, I will be married to my wife for 10 years. We have been together for over 13 years, and during that time we went through challenges no healthy couple will ever experience. Since fibromyalgia in marriage and divorce is rarely spoken of, I wanted to explore why fibromyalgia destroys marriages.
Why fibromyalgia destroys marriages?
In order to answer why fibromyalgia destroys marriages, I need to show you some statistics… I already wrote a similar article about the fibromyalgia divorce rate and how to save your marriage from divorce.
I shared the fibromyalgia divorce rate pdf in a form of an infographic in this very post, but let’s begin with fibromyalgia divorce rate facts here:
For a healthy couple, people split usually on average 40-50% of the time, but when it comes to chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, the fibromyalgia divorce rate rises from “the norm” to as much as 75%.
As many as three out of four marriages end in divorce when one of the spouses is chronically ill. It is more prominent with women being ill, as their husbands are more likely to have an affair and leave.
There are many reasons why fibromyalgia destroys marriages and most couples where one partner has fibromyalgia have many issues in their relationship, including:
- loss of sex life
- loss of social life
- lack of understanding
- arguments in the marriage
- high cost of treatment
- impact on work
- financial impact
- physical impact
- mental impact
- psychological impact
People don’t openly talk about fibromyalgia in marriage and the divorce risk. The fibromyalgia divorce rate is as high as 75 percent because there is still a lack of understanding of this chronic illness, in most cases, by male partners.
Fibromyalgia affects not only the person who suffers from it but also their spouse.
If you want to learn more about fibromyalgia, I wrote a “Fibromyalgia for Caring Partners” e-Book.
You can get the 3 First Chapters of the e-Book for FREE, and if you like it, you’ll get a Whopping 33% Discount on the Whole Book, plus discounts on other helpful tools. You have nothing to lose but a lot to gain.
These chapters alone explain how to accept the new normal, and understand fibromyalgia, and its diagnosis. They include:
- The new you.
- The new her.
- The new reality.
- Introduction to fibromyalgia.
- What is fibromyalgia?
- The early days.
- When you first realize something is wrong.
- Spotting the signs that something is wrong.
- Coming to terms with a chronic illness.
- The role of partner in fibromyalgia.
- The process of getting diagnosed.
Get Your 3 FREE Chapters!
Fibromyalgia for Caring Men
Fibromyalgia in marriage and divorce.
Let’s go deeper into fibromyalgia in marriage and divorce which often occurs. In a nutshell, I pointed out why fibromyalgia destroys marriages. Below, I’m going to discuss these issues one by one…
The loss of sex life… Unfortunately for my wife, her fibromyalgia was a consequence of living in prolonged pain with stage IV deep infiltrating endometriosis she was diagnosed with a year before.
Fibromyalgia often causes a loss of sex life or at least diminishes it to a minimum. Some of the main reasons are pain and fatigue.
In my marriage, I found that not only does endometriosis cause painful sex. Fibromyalgia causes painful sex too. When women experience pain, sex is the last thing they want at the time.
For some women with fibromyalgia pain can make physical intimacy impossible, and the repetitive and unpredictable nature of it breaks even the strongest of marriages.
Men leave women because they cannot imagine their relationship without having a sex life. My poor wife asked me to divorce her because she felt like a burden to me, and wanted me to be happy.
A marriage without sex can be difficult to imagine, but as it is in my case, it happens. That’s why fibromyalgia in marriage and divorce often go hand in hand.
The loss of social life because of fibromyalgia is caused by random flare-ups of pain and other fibromyalgia symptoms that are unpredictable.
In addition, fibromyalgia impacts work, therefore finances, and not only a woman who suffers from this condition is affected, but her husband is also impacted.
I found myself taking weeks’ worth of time off work to take care of my wife. It wasn’t only caused by fibromyalgia symptoms, but also because my wife felt suicidal. She tried to commit suicide on a handful of occasions in the past.
Fibromyalgia destroys marriages not only due to the physical symptoms but also because of the mental and psychological impact it has on both of you.
There is a high cost of fibromyalgia treatment too which has serious financial implications. Medication, acupuncture, physio, and CBT, to name a few.
Luckily for me and my wife, we live in London, so her treatment is free. That saves us a lot of headaches because we know that it is not the case for other countries like the United States.
The challenges that fibromyalgia brings impact women mentally and psychologically but it also affects their partners.
Fibromyalgia in marriage and divorce needs to be taken seriously due to the fibromyalgia divorce rate being very high!
I did my own research…
A year ago, I personally emailed 500 women with endometriosis in order to do research for my book called “Endo-Tool”. Out of 200 women who replied to me only one-third of them said that their men were supportive.
The vast majority of male partners of these women did not understand what to do to help and left them.
I don’t want to judge them but the numbers speak for themselves, two-thirds of relationships fell apart.
I conducted this mini poll about endometriosis, however, roughly 10% of these women also had fibromyalgia and said that their partners did not believe their symptoms and pain.
According to this source, “women with endometriosis were twice as likely to have fibromyalgia than those who did not have the condition, and 31% of women diagnosed with endometriosis had also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.”
Either way, endometriosis, and fibromyalgia are both known to be invisible conditions, and for that reason, the lack of understanding and disbelief by male partners leads relationships to breaking point.
The reason is the fact that there is a ton of information for women suffering from fibromyalgia, but none for their male partners who love and support them.
My 15 caregiving tips!
My personal experience in supporting someone with two chronic illnesses allowed me to learn a few skills that I wanted to share with you.
These are my own 15 caregiving tips that I still use today, and which help me manage the most difficult times in our marriage. Here they are:
- Find support groups if you feel stuck and don’t know who to talk to.
- Get help from your family, friends, or charities if you feel overwhelmed.
- Make time for yourself in order to avoid caregiver burnout.
- Be kind to yourself, and don’t always put yourself last. You matter too.
- Identify personal barriers. If you feel something bothers you, tell your partner in a polite manner.
- Communicate with her because communication is the most important component of any healthy relationship.
- Try to be patient. Don’t jump to conclusions or get worried about the unknown.
- Don’t stop learning. Keep educating yourself about her condition.
- Remember your loved one. She’s still the person you married. Don’t ever forget that! Look through old photos and memories. You’ll find again why you want to be with her.
- Approach caregiving with your heart. Yes, want it or not – you are a spousal caregiver, but you are also her partner, her loved one.
- Be respectful. This needs no explanation.
- Be sensitive to her feelings. Your partner goes through a lot of challenges, be sensitive.
- Trust in your ability to be a caregiver. Simply love and care.
- Know your limits, slow down when you need to.
- Try not to be judgmental as you will never truly understand what she’s going through.
Don’t give up on your marriage!
The reason why fibromyalgia destroys marriages is that one of the partners throws the towel. Fibromyalgia within your marriage doesn’t have to go hand in hand with divorce.
You can still live a happy life!
Look at me… my wife suffers from two chronic illnesses, we will never have kids, be parents, or have grandkids taking care of us when we’re old and fragile. But we still make things work. We are happy because we can rely on each other.
Many “healthy” relationships fall apart because they cannot rely on one another, they don’t trust each other, and they don’t communicate.
And even though we might not have sex as often as we wished to, lost social life, and cannot really plan ahead, we love each other. We can count on one another.
I understand that finding an effective treatment for fibromyalgia takes time. But her treatment starts at home, with you. You can make her feel better or absolutely ignore the person you love.
You are reading this because you care for her. I know that in the meantime you still have to live and cope, but you simply can’t put on hold your relationship while waiting for a doctor’s opinion.
You need to take all the medical advice with a pinch of salt because what worked for one person, won’t necessarily work for your partner.
I’m talking about medication such as painkillers, hormones, and antidepressants.
My wife for instance had surgical laparoscopy for her endometriosis, but she never touched Morphin after the operation. She set her mind on a holistic approach. There was no addiction, and no side effects.
How was it possible?
She managed it with her mind. Since her system is extremely sensitive to heavy painkillers and anti-inflammatories, my wife had to find a way to learn to cope with chronic pain. Using breathing and relaxation she managed to turn down the pain level.
But I understand that this isn’t for everyone, it’s how my wife copes. I help by providing a calm, safe, and quiet environment for her to focus on such a meditative state.
We always communicate and help one another. We are a team, and so are you!
Many couples stop showing affection, they stop even simple gestures such as holding hands or cuddling while they watch TV. This isn’t healthy.
Showing affection and intimacy are important in any relationship, especially in one with a chronic illness.
Don’t put your marriage on hold, work through it, communicate, and listen to one another. Having fibromyalgia does not mean your lives are over.
So, if you ask me “why fibromyalgia destroys marriages?”, I say that every relationship has a different reason. Mostly, it is a lack of support and understanding, but also no communication.
Fibromyalgia in marriage and divorce often go hand in hand, but I hope you found this post a little bit helpful.
Love one another, don’t give up, and do more of what makes you happy! The fibromyalgia divorce rate may be high, but you don’t have to belong to the 75%.
Take care of yourselves!
Hi, I’m Lucjan! The reason why I decided to create this blog was my beautiful wife, who experienced a lot of pain in life, but also the lack of information about endometriosis and fibromyalgia for men…